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to the distended force of the blood, which, probably, at the same time, arrives in greater quantity, owing to a simultaneous dilatation of the parts; and thus the plexuses become filled, and remain so until the stimulus to erection subsides, when the organic muscular fibres again contract, and so gradually expel the excess of blood from the previously distended vessels.”—Kirkes,
In speaking of the nerves, Müller says: “The corpora cavernosa of the penis and urethra are provided in greater part with nerves of organic life, whereas the glans penis, very sensitive as it is, receives nerves exclusively sensitive.”—Müller, “ Ueber die Organischen Nerven der erectilen Männlichen Geschlechtsorgane," f'c., p. 44.
“The arteries of erectile organs present a special disposition, which strikes one at once. At first (as Müller has shown) the arterial trunks in the bulb and at the roots of the corpora cavernosa do not divide in the usual way into dichotomic branches, but are surrounded on all sides by bunches of vessels which arise, from three to ten in number, from a short common trunk. These vessels are not mere short diverticula, but traverse for some distance the large sinuses of the central portion of the corpora cavernosa and of the bulb, and penetrate, after numerous subdivisions and anastomoses, especially about the periphery, the muscular trabeculæ. After traversing these fibres, the arteries pass to the surface through slit-like openings; but from their origin to their termination in the muscular fibres, the vessels from the arterial branches are twisted on themselves in abrupt and closely compressed spiral folds, interlacing, entwining, and anastomosing, so as to form a sort of vascular tangle, and this, unlike any simple flexions which a slight distension suffices to obliterate, persists during even complete erection, and closely resembles a beautiful network."-Rouget, Professeur agrégé à la Faculté de Médecine de Paris, “ Journ. de Physiologie,” tom. i.
Köbelt describes erection as follows :- -“ Thus, on the one hand, the glans penis, endowed as it is with sensibility, and, on the other hand, the irritable muscular apparatus of the bulb, act
and react upon one another as reciprocal exciting causes. The glans penis, when excited, reacts on the bulb, which sends more and more blood—the exciting material—towards it. Each new rush of blood to the glans exalts its sensibility ; the bulbo-cavernosus muscle, irritated in its turn, progressively accelerates its contractions, in order to satisfy the requirements of the glans, which also increases more and more, till at last, by alternate actions, the entire apparatus reaches its highest point of excitement. At this moment a new series of secondary reflex phenomena is suddenly produced between the glans penis and the muscles which produce evacuation of the vesiculæ seminales, these muscles become excited, a spermatic ejaculation is produced, and at this point the currents of exchange cease, the special function is accomplished, and the organ, as soon as nature has gained her end, returns to its ordinary state of repose and vegetative life.”—Köbelt, loc. cit., p. 39.
Rouget has lately given us his views as to the way in which erection takes place. Contraction commences in front of the bulb and the root of the cavernous body, or at least at their margin. He supposes that the distension of the vesiculæ seminales is the first cause of natural erection. The latter commences by a species of spasm, which, developing itself in the muscular apparatus of the generative system, is transmitted de proche en proche to the bundles of the root of the cavernous body and the bulb, and tends to propagate itself to the whole extent of the penis. The obstacle to the course of blood in the veins of the plexus of Santorini, imposed by the first muscular contractions, has for its immediate effect the dilatation of the areola of the cavernous bodies by the blood; and the tension of the liquid struggles energetically against the muscular tonicity up to the moment when, ejaculation being accomplished, spasm ceases little by little in the same situations where it began; the circulation then becoming free, muscular contraction gets the better of the
nsion of the blood, and partially drives on this liquid. The organ itself then gradually resumes its natural dimensions.”
These recent researches, then, seem to demonstrate that the muscular contractions, the effect of which is to hamper the
venous circulation, play a considerable part in the phenomenon of erection ; nevertheless, they do not play the principal part, and should not be considered any otherwise than as auxillaries to the act. The first phenomenon observed—that by which erection commences, and without which it could not manifest itselfis the dilatation of the little arteries and veins under the influence of the vaso-motor nerves. These are the erector nerves (nervi origentes); they arise from the sciatic plexus, and are distributed with the vessels on the side of the bladder and prostate, as far as the membranous and bulbous portion of the urethra, where we cease to follow them.
At this point of their course we observe a certain number of ganglionic cells on the continuité of the nervous filaments.
The course of erection, I may add, is from the base of the organ towards the glans, and the progressive return to the normal condition seems to be in the opposite direction. After seminal emission the erection soon diminishes, and the return of the organ to its normal bulk occupies less time than its previous erection. The sluices of the venous blood are now suddenly opened. The elastic reaction of the immoderately distended partitions and membranes presses upon the blood in contact with them. The non-striated muscular fibres probably add to this propulsive force. The excess of blood is, therefore, returned with increased velocity from the spongy texture towards the pelvic cavity.
“When the nervous discharge which generally accompanies seminal emission does not occur, the erection disappears much more slowly, and nervous influences can subsequently produce a second erection with greater ease and rapidity.”—Valentin, translated by Brinton, p. 630.
Hunter says—“When the erection is not strong, it shall go off without the emission, but I doubt much if erection will take place without the power of emitting semen, unless under unnatural excitement, or except in cases of lesion of the spinal cord.”
In man the act of erection lasts only a short time, but the case is different with many animals. For instance, in the dog, when the penis is introduced into the vagina of the bitch, its body becomes suddenly enlarged, and the animal is thus unable to withdraw from connection for a long time. This, according to Richerand, depends upon the absence of vesiculæ seminales in the dog; and as the semen passes only drop by drop, impregnation would not occur had not nature ordained such prolonged copulation. This appears very probable.
In some animals, as in the monkeys, the bats, the carnivora, the rodentia, and the balænidæ among cetaceans, erection is further assisted by a bone which is imbedded in the substance of the male organ, of which it forms a considerable part. Where this bone exists the corpora cavernosa are proportionably small, and the fibrous walls of the penis are confounded with its periosteal covering.
That the erect penis should fill the vagina and distend it seems necessary to the full excitement of the female sexual feelings. It appears from the following account given by Rymer Jones, in his “General Outline of the Animal Kingdom,” that nature has given to certain classes of animals an apparatus which deserves the attention of the
says“In the guinea-pig no one will be disposed to deny that the penis is an instrument of excitement. It is strengthened by a flat bone that reaches forward as far as the extremity of the glans, beneath which is the termination of the urethra; but behind and below the orifice of this canal is the opening of the pouch, wherein are lodged two long, horny spikes. When the member is erect the pouch alluded to becomes everted, and the spikes are protruded externally to a considerable length. Both the everted pouch and the entire surface of the glans are, moreover, covered densely with sharp spines or hooklets; and as though even all this were not sufficient to produce the needful irritation, still further back there are, in some species, two short and strong horny saws appended to the sides of the organ. From this terrible armature of the male cavys it would be only natural to expect some corresponding peculiarity in the female parts; but, however inexplicable it may appear, the female vagina offers no uncommon structure.” (p. 835.)
ABNORMAL ERECTION AND DISORDERS AFFECT
Having described normal erection and its essential conditions, it remains for us to consider a few of the more frequent perversions or morbid states affecting this function, and for the convenience of description I have treated of them under the separate sections of
I. SLOW ERECTION.
SECT. I.-SLOW ERECTION.
This peculiarity occurs in animals as well as men. I observed it in horses when, in 1862, I had the opportunity of visiting the well-organized horse-breeding establishinent of Mr. Blenkiron in company with Professor Spooner. A chestnut stallion in particular, aged and somewhat fat, was remarkable in this respect. He required to be walked about and around the mare before any erection took place, and in mounting the act lasted rather longer than is usual with other stallions.
This sluggishness, which is often rather a congenital peculiarity than a disorder, sometimes causes alarm when it exists in
I have often been consulted by persons telling me that erection is very tardy, and requesting some stimulus for the purpose of expediting the act. Of course the invariable reply to such a request is that it would be very dangerous to interfere. The best means of allaying the anxiety of such patients is to explain to them the real cause of the symptom. If it arises